The changing role of the sports agent
Published: 06 Sep 2016
The business of sport agents is completely unregulated, and further, this deregulation is higher than ever before. This is the main finding of a new academic publication investigating the role of the sports agent across the world, and how it has changed over the years.
Sports Agents and Labour Markets: Evidence from World Football – published by Routledge – offers historical, legal, social and economic perspectives on the sports agent profession by drawing on extensive empirical research into the football industry around the world.
Authored by a trio of sports academics including Dr Giambattista Rossi of the Birkbeck Sport Business Centre, the book explains how understanding the role of the agent can help increase understanding of labour markets and labour relations in an increasingly globalised sports industry. The book is aimed at academics, students and any professionals interested in the business of sport.
Dr Rossi and his colleagues researched the role of the sports agent within major European football leagues, Major League Soccer in the United States, as well as smaller European leagues, South America, and the Far East. They found that the business of sports agents is highly unregulated across the globe, and that the extent to this has been vastly underestimated by stakeholders in the sports industry.
“This book goes further than any other in illuminating an important but under-researched aspect of contemporary sport business,” said Dr Rossi.
“The main characteristic we discovered is that agents are highly interconnected and their profession is very flexible. As the profession is very unstable and highly competitive, agents are drawn to accepting any business opportunity. This in turn may affect the interests of athletes who are the main protagonists of the labour market.
“The aim of the book is to look into this under-researched area of the sports industry, and to disclose more information about a profession that has been largely covered in the past for its murky business. We believe it is very important that sport agents and the sport labour market are more transparent, and this book aims to contribute positively to this picture.”
Dr Rossi, whose research in general focuses on the sport labour market, was drawn to the topic of sport agents when he received the Joao Havelange scholarship awarded by CIES. The scholarship resulted in his editing a report on the market of football agents in the Big 5 European football leagues.
Looking ahead, Dr Rossi will now extrapolate academic journal papers from this book. Currently, he is working on other projects such as on the impact of corruption in football, performance and salaries in sport and relative age effects on athletes.
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